|November 17, 2017||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
THOMAS - 21
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a match that felt as if it was for the title, No. 1 Kennesaw State and No. 4 Lipscomb battled through four tense sets in front of a rowdy crowd inside Allen Arena before the Owls got the best of the BIsons, 3-1, in the semifinals of the ASUN Championship.
"I was extremely proud of our girls tonight, said Lipscomb head coach Brandon Rosenthal. "All year long we've challenged our girls to give it everything they had and tonight we saw that. This was a great match, definitely a championship-caliber match, and our girls rose to the occasion.
"Congrats to Kennesaw State and Keith Schunzel and his crew, they played a great match. It's difficult to lose in a tight, two-point set, but that's what high-level collegiate volleyball is. This is what people come to see."
The Owls (20-4) threw up a wall at the net, resulting in a program record 22.5 blocks to send them to their second-ever ASUN Championship Final.
"Unfortunately things just didn't go our way tonight and I hate that for our girls, I hate that for our seniors because they were unbelievable examples of what we want Lipscomb volleyball to be," said Rosenthal.
Lipscomb (16-13) ran its attack through 2-time ASUN Player of the Year Carlyle Nusbaum. The junior swung 69 times, tying her second highest total of the season, which also happened against the Owls in September. Nusbaum collected 26 kills and 11 digs for her 15th double-double of the season.
Kennesaw State controlled the opening set for all but one point behind its strong defense, ultimately winning 25-18. The Owls swatted five balls and limited the Bisons to .023 hitting.
In the second set, it was all Lipscomb. The home team was paced by seven kills from Nusbaum, giving her 15 for the match at the time, and 12 assists by setter Morgan Elmore, en route to a 20-25 victory.
The Bisons were playing from behind for much of the last two frames as KSU combined for 13 blocks and just six errors. Trailing by four in the final set, Lipscomb found a way to draw even at 17-17 to force an Owl timeout, but the top seed picked up the first two points out of the break and never looked back. Kennesaw State took the final frames 25-19 and 25-23.
"I want to say thank you to all of our fans that came out and supported us this season," Rosenthal said. 'You have been absolutely tremendous all season and truly took a huge step forward in representing us and the excitement around this program.
"Tonight we played a Lipscomb brand of volleyball, so that makes this moment hard. I have no doubt our girls will learn from it."
With the loss the Bisons say goodbye to seniors Brittany Thomas, Chloe Rogers and Jenny Phelan.
"To Brittany, Jenny and Chloe, thank you all for what you've given to this program, not only in volleyball, but also the leadership and the constant giving of everything you had," Rosenthal said. "I am so proud of each of you and have no doubt Lipscomb volleyball is in a better place because of all of you."
- Lipscomb failed to reach the ASUN Final for just the second time since 2007. The previous was in 2012.
- The Bisons appeared in the ASUN semifinals for the 13th straight season.
- KSU outhit the Bisons .168 to .133 for the match.
- Nusbaum went over 20 kills for the 10th time this season. She finished the season with 522 total, which ranks eighth best in ASUN history. She also passes Jewel Dobson (507) for the second most in a single season in Lipscomb history.
- The Owls won all three meeting against the Bisons this season, including the first time in tournament play.
- Elmore recorded a match high 54 assists.
- Lauren Anderson set a career high with 21 digs. She tied Thomas for the math high.
- Ca’Layci Coffey paced Lipscomb with five blocks.